Apple may not have launched its most innovative products in 2016, but when it comes to marketing, Cupertino is still killing it.
By utilizing celebrities, musicians, athletes and everyday iPhone owners, Apple created some of its most memorable ads ever in 2016. Whether they were touting Apple TV with Kobe Bryant, or using the story of an autistic boy to show how technology can change the world, Apple ads entertained us and gave us all the feels.
These are our favorite Apple ads of 2016.
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Drake vs. Bench Press
Drake has proven to be a celebrity that isn’t afraid to make fun of himself. Whether wearing a retro Apple jacket to WWDC, or dancing like a dad in the “Hotline Bling” video, Drizzy is always a good time. In his big Apple Music ad this year, Drake shows us how distractingly good Cupertino’s streaming music service can be.
Apple’s ads are best when they’re pulling at our heartstrings instead of our wallets. One of the company’s many excellent ads focusing on accessibility shows how the iPad changed the life of an autistic boy named Dillan by giving him a voice.
Apple waited until the 20th year of Kobe Bryant’s career to finally put the basketball superstar in one of its ads, but the wait was worth it. Black Mamba stars alongside the actor Michael B. Jordan (think Creed and Fruitvale Station, not basketball) in a hilarious ad that shows Bryant fighting the clock.
The Beautiful Game
To celebrate the Euro 2016 soccer football championships, Apple put a new spin on its “Shot on iPhone” ad campaign by featuring only soccer shots. The ad will make you feel weepy with love as pictures and videos of kids playing football around the world mix with Little Simz’s inspirational song “Wingz.”
Taylor vs. Treadmill
Taylor Swift’s first appearance in an Apple ad revealed that the country-turned-pop star has a soft spot for hip-hop icons Drake and Future. On Twitter, she told fans her funny ad is “based on real events.” Watch out for a possible Tee Sweezy hip-hop albums — this girl can drop bars.
The Human Family
2016 has been one of the most divisive years in decades. Apple’s “The Human Family” ad reminds us that despite all our differences, we are really all the same. The ad, featuring a poem by Maya Angelou, aired during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Sesame Street’s lovable Cookie Monster gets subjected to the worst torture imaginable in Apple’s ad for Siri: having to wait for cookies. The cute spot shows off Siri’s hands-free mode, which lets users activate the digital assistant by saying “Hey, Siri” at any time. But it also throws the hapless Muppet into an existential crisis.
Siri and Liam
Apple ramped up its eco-friendly mission this year by creating a new robot called Liam that is specifically designed to tear down iPhones in a matter of seconds. For Earth Day, Apple thought it would be funny if Siri and Liam went on a date. Spoiler alert: The results are horrifying for Apple’s digital assistant.
Everybody Loves Raymond’s Brad Garret kills it in Apple’s holiday ad this year with his portrayal of Frankenstein. The spot is a bit reminiscent of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! but the ending will melt your cold heart.
Designed by Apple in California
Technically this video isn’t an ad. However, it’s one of the most revealing videos Apple has released in years. Our own Leander Kahney (who literally wrote the book on Jony Ive and his design team) breaks down all the interesting details revealed in the video that you probably didn’t notice. It will change the way you think about Apple and design.